The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has pledged to work with the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) in retrieving about N1.2trillion worth of operating surplus held by defaulting Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government.
The EFCC boss made the pledge when the Chairman of the FRC, Victor Muruako and his management team paid him a courtesy visit to the former at the EFCC headquarters, Jabi, Abuja during the week.
Bawa, who promised that the EFCC will work with the FRC in blocking budget leakages, said the recovery of the said N1.2tn in the MDAs will go a long way to shore up revenues for use by the government for public service delivery.
A statement by the FRC head of Strategic Communications, Mr. Bede Anyanwu, said the EFCC helmsman was reacting to a disclosure by Mr. Muruako, who noted that while the FRC has recorded significant gains in blocking wastages in public finance management, about N1.2tn has remained in the hands of defaulting MDAs who have applied different means, including smart accounting, to deny payment to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the federal government.
Mr. Muruako identified the absence of enforcement powers in the Commission’s enabling law as a major weakness, hampering its efforts in enforcing fiscal transparency among agencies of government, and requested the intervention of the EFCC to enable it achieve its mandate.
“Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC recognizes that we can hardly achieve our key aim and objective of ensuring the long term stability of the nation’s economy without the assistance of your Commission. For one, we believe that the credibility of the economic system in Nigeria is a prerequisite for achieving economic stability and this is where EFCC comes in,” he said to his host.
Muruako also urged the EFCC to revisit the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two Agencies with a view to expanding the frontiers of cooperation and collaboration. He specifically called on Bawa and the EFCC to assist in the training of her personnel to improve their capacity to effectively police what he calls, ‘blue chip government agencies’, he said of the focus on the MDAs
In his response, the EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa expressed dismay at the antics of some government agencies that consistently undercut government in terms of revenue remittance. He advised the FRC chairman to ensure that they beam their searchlight on the activities of consultants who are used by Ministries, Departments and Agencies to siphon government funds. “There are a lot of leakages out there, while you are monitoring budget, I will want you to pay a special attention on Consultants, all these Build, Operate and Transfer, all these Public Private Partnerships. There is a lot of corruption embedment in behind the scene deals”, he said.
Bawa assured the FRC Chairman that EFCC will work with his Commission to achieve the objective of securing Nigeria from all forms of economic and financial crimes as well as providing the necessary support and training to boost the professionalism of FRC staff besides the task of ensuring accountability in the MDAs.